Larry Sanders has agreed on a deal to make NBA return with the Cavaliers, w/ likely 2017-18 option date, league sources tell @TheVertical.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 13, 2017
Charania reported that Sanders and his agent, Joel Bell, had flown to Cleveland on Sunday and the center completed a medical on Monday morning.
The former Milwaukee Bucks center’s deal will cover the remainder of the season, and includes a 2017-18 team option that the Cavaliers are likely to exercise if he shows the type of defensive ability expected of him.
The Cavaliers announced the deal via their official twitter account on Monday:
OFFICIAL: Welcome to The Land, @l8show_thegoat!
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) March 13, 2017
Cleveland began aggressively pursuing the 28 year-old the moment it was confirmed that Andrew Bogut — who agreed to a buyout with the Philadelphia 76ers and signed with the reigning NBA champions on March 2nd — had suffered a fractured tibia just 58 seconds into his debut against the Miami Heat.
As a result of this deal, Bogut has been waived.
The intended plan for Sanders is to practice with the Cavaliers, but play for their D-League affiliate, the Canton Charge, for the majority of the season, in the hope of getting him ready for the postseason, per David Aldridge of ESPN.com.
The plan for @l8show_thegoat in Cleveland is to practice w/Cavs & play for Canton D-League team for most of the rest of the regular season.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) March 13, 2017
Sanders, who had played the entirety of his NBA career in Milwaukee up until the 2014-15 season, where he participated in 27 games before agreeing to a contract buyout in February. The 6-foot-11 center had encountered several problems with the NBA’s anti-drug policy, which resulted in him taking a leave of absence from the game. He then declared his comeback over the past year, holding talks with the Boston Celtics, Los Angles Lakers and the Cavaliers. However, it was Cleveland who emerged victorious in the race to sign Sanders.
Sanders’ best season came in 2012-13, where he averaged 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per contest over 71 games.
While not a significantly potent offensive-threat, Sanders more than makes up for it with his defensive prowess and rim protecting ability. He should offer the Cavaliers a valuable option off the bench — in a position that was needed to be filled.